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Daily News Digest – July 16, 2019

Good morning! Lots of news today so strap in.
Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, July 16.

1. Senate finance reports are in.

  • Campaign finance reports for the 2nd Quarter are in and we have the numbers for you.
  • Sen. Doug Jones continues to build his war chest with an impressive $2 million haul.
  • Congressman Bradley Byrne was again the top GOP fundraiser with $685K raised.
  • Tommy Tuberville raised $421K, but more significantly loaned his campaign $1 million to show he’s willing to put skin in the game.
  • Secretary of State John Merrill took in $217K, which is impressive for only having been in the race a few weeks.
  • Same for State Rep. Arnold Mooney, who raised $298K.
  • Roy Moore was the big disappointment at only $16K raised.
  • There are caveats to all, of course.
  • See the full numbers, plus analysis of what they mean HERE.

2. Central American minors placed in Alabama.

  • Speaking of Senate candidates, they are responding today to a new report showing growth in the number of migrant children released to Alabama.
  • The surge of migrants at the Southern border the past several years has impacted Alabama as many unaccompanied minors have been relocated here.
  • This year’s numbers already surpass last year’s, and there’s no sign of it slowing down.
  • Since 2014, 4,563 unaccompanied minors from Central America have been released to sponsors in Alabama. Most of those are teenage males.
  • As of May, 771 minors have come to Alabama. That surpasses the 2018 total of 730.
  • It is becoming a real issue in North Alabama, and candidates for U.S. Senate are responding to it along the campaign trail.
  • ADN’s Mary Sell has the story plus what the candidates are saying about the issue HERE.


3. DNC sets new deadline; State party stumbles on cue.


  • The Democratic National Committee has set a new deadline for the Alabama Democratic Party to elect new leadership.
  • The DNC says the ADP must hold leadership elections by August 17 or face new penalties, including being ostracized by the national party.
  • This all goes back to last year’s leadership elections in which some claimed that the Alabama Democratic Conference leader Joe Reed essentially gamed the party’s convoluted minority delegate rules to ensure Nancy Worley retained her chairmanship.
  • The DNC ordered new elections in February, but the state party has dragged its feet to comply.
  • Read the full story from the Advertiser’s Brian Lyman HERE.
  • As Brian was breaking this story yesterday, the Alabama Democratic Party – as if on cue – again demonstrated its incompetence. The party’s website disappeared and began displaying an unflattering landing page (see above). This is what happens when you don’t pay your GoDaddy bill, which is a basic function of pretty much any organization.
  • Said Robyn Hammontree, who seemed to discover the problem on Twitter, “The state party let our website expire because they do not care about us at all. They can’t even do the bare minimum. This is unacceptable.”


4. Moonshot festivities begin.

  • Two of Apollo 11’s living astronauts are returning to the exact spot from where they flew to the moon 50 years ago.
  • NASA has invited Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on Tuesday. They are marking the precise moment — 9:32 a.m. on July 16, 1969 — that their Saturn V rocket departed on humanity’s first moon landing. Mission commander Neil Armstrong — who took the first lunar footsteps — died in 2012.
  • It kicks off eight days of golden anniversary celebrations for each day of Apollo 11’s voyage.
  • Also Tuesday morning, 5,000 model rockets are set to launch simultaneously at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. At the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, Armstrong’s newly restored spacesuit goes on display.
  • Huntsville’s activities won’t stop this morning. Later tonight there’s a dinner headlined by Gov. Kay Ivey. Buzz Aldrin is scheduled to be an honored guest at a special dinner on Thursday. And there’s a big “dancing in the streets” planned for
  • Friday to commemorate how NASA scientists celebrated in the streets upon a successful launch in 1969.
  • Read more about the events planned from Lee Roop HERE.
  • If you’re looking for great Moon #Content, look no further than PBS and Alabama Public Television.
  • “Chasing the Moon” is a three-part documentary that beautifully encapsulates the audacious Apollo missions. It has been airing all week, so you might catch it live, but you can also watch all three parts online HERE.
  • H/T to Matt Murphy and Andrea Lindenberg, who promoted the documentary yesterday on the radio.


5. ALFA awards truck to Auburn Equestrian.

  • Alabama Farmers Federation gifted a 2019 Duramax Diesel Chevrolet Silverado 2500 to the Auburn University Equestrian team after the group won its sixth national championship this year.
  • Equestrian Coach Greg William was happy to accept the new truck and said it will be very useful for all of their needs in taking care of the horses.
  • “This truck is an amazing asset for us,” Williams said. “This is going to be a very nice vehicle to use when accepting donated horses or for safely transporting horses to the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.”
  • Federation President Jimmy Parnell said he was proud of Auburn’s Equestrian team and hopes they can continue with their success in agricultural-related athletics.
  • “It’s inspiring to see how committed these young women are to this sport, and it’s a pleasure to support the team with this truck donation,” said Parnell.
  • Full story from Caroline Beck HERE.


AP News Briefs.

Trump won’t back down; Congresswomen fire back
  • Defiant in the face of widespread censure, President Donald Trump escalated his demand for four Democratic congresswomen of color to leave the U.S. “right now,” stoking the discord that helped send him to the White House and claiming “many people agree with me.”
  • At the Capitol, the four lawmakers fired back, condemning what they called “xenophobic bigoted remarks” and renewing calls for Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings.
  • Trump had called on the four to “go back” to their “broken and crime-infested” countries in tweets that have been widely denounced as racist . His remarks were directed at Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. All are American citizens, and three of the four were born in the U.S.
  • The episode served notice that Trump is willing to again rely on incendiary rhetoric on issues of race and immigration to preserve his political base in the leadup to the 2020 election.
  • “It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me,” Trump said Monday at the White House. “A lot of people love it, by the way.”
  • Full story HERE.
Judge to sentence Donald Watkins, Sr. & Jr.
  • Today a federal judge will sentence an Alabama attorney and his son who were convicted of defrauding investors and a bank out of millions of dollars.
  • Prosecutors are seeking a prison sentence of 17½ years for Donald Watkins Sr. and 6½ years for his son, Donald Watkins Jr.
  • A jury convicted the men of bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy in March. Prosecutors said the elder Watkins sold investments that were supposed to help grow a biofuel company called Masada Resource Group, but instead the pair used the money for personal bills and debts such as taxes, alimony and clothing.
  • A string of high-profile witnesses, including basketball star Charles Barkley and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, testified at the trial that they either lost money with Watkins or that he wrongly claimed they were involved in his business.
  • Full story HERE.
Alabama seeks site for a new veterans home
  • The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs is looking for a location in southeast Alabama to build the state’s fifth veterans home.
  • The department sent out requests for site selection proposals Monday. The plan is to build a 182,000-square-foot (16,900-square-meter) home to provide skilled nursing care for 150 to 175 veterans. The minimum site requirement is 27 acres (11 hectares).
  • The department is considering Barbour, Butler, Coffee, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston, and Pike counties. These counties can submit proposals by August 15.
  • The department currently has four veteran’s home including the Bill Nicholas State Veterans Home in Alexander City which recently received national recognition for demonstrating their dedication to improving quality care for residents and patients in long term and post-acute care.
Police: 21,000 child porn images found in Alabama man’s home
  • An Alabama musician has been accused of possessing and intending to distribute more than 21,000 child porn videos and images.
  • News outlets report 30-year-old Logan Brent Maughon filed a “not guilty” motion Monday. He was charged last week with possession and dissemination of child pornography.
  • Mobile Police Representative Charlette Solis says police received an online tip of the allegations. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Crimes Against Children Task Force is assisting in the investigation.
  • Full story.
Minor earthquake detected in Alabama
  • The U.S. Geological Survey says North Alabama experienced an earthquake over the weekend, but it’s likely nobody even knew.
  • quotes U.S. Geological officials as saying they detected a small earthquake Sunday just outside of Huntsville, Alabama. The quake was a magnitude 2.3 — three times smaller than the 7.1 earthquake that rocked Southern California last week.
  • The minor Alabama quake was about 3.3 miles (5.3 meters) below the earth’s surface. USGS says that because the quake was so small and deep, residents likely didn’t feel it. No damage was reported.
  • reports Sunday’s quake was also the second in north Alabama this summer, coming after a 2.4 quake last month. Ten others have also slightly shaken the state since the year began.
Sankey talks link between sports gambling, mental health
  • Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey considers the mental health of athletes an important issue to be considered when it comes to legalized betting on college sports.
  • Sankey opened the league’s media days Monday with plenty to say about sports gambling and continuing efforts to improve football officiating before yielding the podium to coaches talking about their hopes and concerns for the season.
  • “We’re seeing trends in the mental health area that should cause us all to pause before these ideas around specific event betting within college sports are allowed to take place,” he said. “And I’m talking about, for example, whether a field goal is made or missed, whether a 3-point try is successful. Is a pitched ball a strike or a ball?
  • “That pause should happen before any of these types of activities take place.”
  • Read more from AP’s John Zenor HERE.


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – In the Weeds with Attorney General Steve Marshall
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senate candidates report fundraising, spending
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senate candidates: Central American teens in Alabama result of broken system
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Judge to sentence father, son convicted of investor fraud
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – SEC’s Sankey talks link between sports gambling, mental health
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Police: 21,000 child porn images found in Alabama man’s home
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ALFA Gifts New Truck to Auburn Equestrian team after winning National Championship
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump won’t back down; Congresswomen fire back
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – After Graddick appointment, Pardons and Paroles could also see new board chair
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Matthew Stokes: Let’s try optimism
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Apollo 11 at 50: Celebrating first steps on another world
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump moves to end asylum protections for Central Americans
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – July 15, 2019
AL.COM  – How safe is the Riverchase Galleria? Crime numbers for Alabama’s largest indoor mall
AL.COM  – Marshall Space Flight Center veterans remember Apollo days
AL.COM  – John Merrill: ‘Homosexual activities, wife swap shows’ ruined TV
AL.COM  – Alabama seeks site for 5th state veterans home
AL.COM  –     Alabama cotton figures in crop’s resurgence
AL.COM  – Alabama Democratic Party website disappears, comes back
AL.COM  – Montgomery Airport in final phase of upgrades
AL.COM  – Contributor Roy Wood Jr. on Southern comedy, The Daily Show and growing up in Birmingham
Montgomery Advertiser – Counselors stand between life and death, even as funding falls
Montgomery Advertiser – Grand juries clear Elmore officers in fatal shootings
Montgomery Advertiser – Prattville police investigate report of road rage involving handgun
YellowHammer News – Alabama State Rep. Pringle visits Pelosi’s office to support Trump’s infrastructure talks, speak out against I-10 bridge toll
YellowHammer News – Episode 17: Interview with former Auburn football players C.J. Uzomah and Mack VanGorder
YellowHammer News – Mobile County’s House of Representatives delegation comes out against I-10 Mobile Bay Bridge toll on locals in letter to Ivey
Dothan Eagle – Dothan City Schools in finishing phase of summer restructuring project
Dothan Eagle – Dothan man out on bond facing additional charges for intimidating witnesses
Dothan Eagle – Dothan National stays unbeaten, moves to finals in Ponytails state tourney
Tuscaloosa News – US Geological Survey detects minor earthquake in Alabama
Tuscaloosa News – Tuscaloosa woman to serve 3 years for starving disabled brother
Tuscaloosa News – Court sides with anti-abortion protester in Tuscaloosa
Decatur Daily – Mayor tells Kirby,’You’re a nut!’ after councilman suggests independent water tests
Decatur Daily – Council approves subdivision agreement
Decatur Daily – Limestone DA asks commission for $100,000 in upcoming budget
Times Daily – Area school officials say Education Trust Fund appropriations a nice surprise
Times Daily – Next streetscaping phase includes Tennessee, College, Dr. Hicks
Times Daily – Lauderdale sheriff gets $18K pay increase
Gadsden Times – Armed suspect arrested in attempted break-in
Gadsden Times – 2nd victim claims sexual abuse in 1980s by former Southside resident
Gadsden Times – Three-county chase ends with suspect shot
Anniston Star – Piedmont councilman arrested, charged with menacing
Anniston Star – Ohatchee man charged with choking woman
Anniston Star – Police: Jacksonville man shot at vehicle, causing shrapnel to hit man inside
Opelika-Auburn News – Auburn woman arrested, charged after stolen handgun recovered
Opelika-Auburn News – Underneath downtown: Auburn works to replace century-old sewer system, avoid sinkholes
Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika psychiatrist was under investigation for more than a year
Daily Mountain Eagle – Identity of deceased inmate confirmed
Daily Mountain Eagle – Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday starts Friday
Daily Mountain Eagle – Quinton woman assaults county deputy
Trussville Tribune – Argo holds 2nd special meeting regarding vacant council seat
Trussville Tribune – Judge to sentence father, son convicted of investor fraud
Trussville Tribune – Boy, 3, dies after falling into restaurant grease trap in Rochester, NY
Athens News Courier – Commissioners OK purchase of milling machine
Athens News Courier – Fire destroys Limestone mobile home
Athens News Courier – BREAKING: Crews respond to structure fire on Settle Road
Sand Mountain Reporter – Boaz Senior Center applies for ALDOT funding to replace bus
Sand Mountain Reporter – CDA building better Albertville
Sand Mountain Reporter – Boaz woman named Ms. Alabama Nursing Home Pageant finalist
WSFA Montgomery – Tuskegee University police officer speaks after saving woman from lake
WSFA Montgomery – Counterfeit suspect sought in Prattville
WSFA Montgomery – Autaugaville business ransacked, cash register stolen Sunday
Fox 6 Birmingham – Two people injured, one dead in East Birmingham shooting
Fox 6 Birmingham – Tuscaloosa police hosting gun buyback
Fox 6 Birmingham – LSU reshaping offenses with hope of overtaking Alabama in SEC West
WAFF Huntsville – Mayor tells Kirby: ‘You’re a nut!’ after councilman suggests independent water tests
WAFF Huntsville – State health department says more West Nile virus cases expected
WAFF Huntsville – Deputies investigating shooting death in Ardmore
WKRG Mobile – Man hit and killed by train in Cantonment
WKRG Mobile – Truck crashes into DIP gas pump
WKRG Mobile – UPDATE: manhunt ends, two suspects in custody
WTVY Dothan – Somebody’s goof allows man convicted of murder to walk out of prison
WTVY Dothan – Enterprise weekend murder update
WTVY Dothan – India theme park ride breaks down, kills 2
WASHINGTON POST  – Trump’s incendiary rhetoric is met with fading resistance from Republican and corporate leaders
WASHINGTON POST  – Pelosi knocks White House fallback plan on debt limit, putting pressure on late-stage budget talks
WASHINGTON POST  – 50 years after Apollo, conspiracy theorists are still howling at the ‘moon hoax’
WASHINGTON POST  – North Korea hints it may resume nuclear testing, accuses U.S. of reneging on pact
NEW YORK TIMES  – After Trump Accuses Four Democratic Congresswomen of Hating U.S., They Fire Back

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